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Short Stack: SROs in schools
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SHORT STACK

Short Stack: SROs in schools

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The more we learn about the ambush of a 14-year-old student in a Southern Guilford High School classroom, the worse it sounds.

The brazen trespassing onto school property and invasion of a classroom.

The planning involved in the May 25 attack.

The sheer viciousness of the assault, which involved punches and kicks.

That a 37-year-old mother, Kiamosha Devanee Sutton, was among the eight assailants, as was another adult who has yet to be arrested.

Anikqua Shydasia Beatty, 18, of Charlotte is wanted on charges of inciting a riot, assault and first-degree trespass. She was supposed to turn herself in and failed to show.

Some parents have expressed concern that more could have been done to prevent the incident.

We’re not quite sure what that would be. If a student inside the school is complicit and other Southern Guilford students were involved — which seems to be the case — it’s hard to know what other precautions might have been taken.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some good ideas school and law enforcement officials haven’t considered.

Constructive suggestions deserve a fair hearing.

Meanwhile, it’s fortunate that a school resource officer was on duty.

The presence of SROs in schools is a sensitive issue.

Critics say that the presence of law enforcement in schools tends to criminalize school misconduct. They say matters that otherwise would have been handled by faculty and staff are referred to police.

This, they say, can result in more students landing in the criminal justice system.

That’s a valid concern.

But, given the horrors we’ve seen from school shootings (they are statistically rare, but they do continue to happen) and potential dangers from other intruders, SROs who know the students and the campuses provide an important layer of security.

And they don’t have to be called in the event of an emergency. They already are on the premises.

The key is effective recruitment (not everyone is cut out to be a police officer or sheriff’s deputy and not every officer is cut out to be an SRO) and training for the officer and a clear understanding of when aid from officers should or should not be requested.

Those distinctions, obviously, are not always made.

And that’s when things can go wrong.

But while we believe SROs are not a perfect solution to school safety, we believe the system should be improved, not eliminated.

The cola war is over

No sooner had the top been popped on the Surry County commissioners’ declared war against Coca-Cola than the revolt fizzed out.

The commissioners reversed their decision to remove 12 Coke vending machines from county buildings in protest of the corporation’s opposition to the suppressive new Georgia voting law.

After hearing speakers from the floor, including a representative of a North Carolina Coke distributor, the commissioners voted 3-2 to let the machines stay put.

As we noted in Tuesday’s editorial, the vending machine purge would have done little to affect the global giant, which is headquartered in Atlanta.

But it would not have been helpful to the 37 local workers in Surry County who distribute Coke products, or the 4,000 other North Carolinians who work for Coca-Cola Consolidated, which is based in Charlotte.

Beyond that, other speakers rightly noted, Surry County’s leaders had better things to do: They should invest their time and energy on more pressing problems in their own community, not on a political spat in Georgia.

And certainly not on whose soda machines are where.

Market-driven

It’s good to hear that the spring High Point Market, which opened Saturday and ends today, should benefit from pent-up demand and renewed optimism as the pandemic eases its grip.

As the Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Craver reported last week, orders are up and record sales are expected globally this year for home furnishings.

International buyers and sellers are still down, Tom Conley, president and chief executive of the High Point Market Authority, told the Journal, but the market clearly seems to be trending upward.

Why should that matter to the rest of us?

According to a 2018 Duke University study, the market’s annual economic impact is $6.73 billion.

That’s real money no matter how you count it.

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